SAN FRANCISCO (Tom Vacar/KTVU) - Recently released video from the Asiana Flight 214 plane crash four years ago is raising a lot of issues about the evacuation of the plane. The video is from San Francisco International Airport's control tower camera.
After analyzing the video, we discussed the crucial time line for evacuations for future reference with an expert.
According to San Francisco Roof Tower Camera 2, Asiana 214, approaching too low, hit the sea wall at precisely at 11:27 and 48 seconds. In a growing cloud of smoke and dust, the plane careened along the runway for 20 to 25 seconds It came back full into view; no emergency chutes deployed, about 50 seconds after impact.
Though smoke is visible on the far side of the aircraft, the near side appears completely clear of smoke or flame.
The first evacuees appear coming out of the rear of the aircraft one minute and 29 seconds after the impact. The first emergency chute deploys a minute and 53 seconds after impact. The last person seems to exit the front chute five minutes and five seconds after impact and about four minutes and 15 seconds after the plane came to rest. People can still be seen coming from the rear of the place almost eight minutes later when the fire trucks advance on the plane.
Here's the problem according to retired airline captain Bruce Milan. Milan continued, "It has to be evacuated completely, a completely full airplane, in 90 seconds and that's with half the exits closed," said Captain Milan.
What is the protocol? "Hopefully, the pilot is OK. He should announce an evacuation immediately. Flight attendants are taught, in most airlines, to be able to initiate an evacuation, because, what if the pilots are knocked out?" Milan thinks it's possible some of the passengers, sitting in emergency exit rows, might have slowed the process down. "The people who are asked, when they sit by the emergency exits. 'Can you open the door? Can you open a window emergency exit?" And, they all nod and they say, 'Yes, we can,' they should give them a little quiz. Well, how do you open up that door, that window, that exit? But, you have to assess, because if there's a fire outside the window of the emergency exit over the wing, you don't want to go that way." said the Captain.
The other disturbing issue: many of the people evacuated remained relatively close to the aircraft when they should have been led away in the event of an explosion or so as not to interfere with the rescue process.